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Freshwater or Saltwater Fishing in Alaska: Which is Better?

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Everyone knows that if you want to find a great place to do some fishing, then Alaska is a premier destination. However, there is another question that you have to answer if you are thinking about heading up to Alaska for fishing season: do you want to catch saltwater fish or freshwater fish?

The answer might depend on where you are staying, what you are planning to do, which type of fishing you prefer, and what types of fish you are hoping to catch. Here’s a quick overview of both so you can decide which suits you better.

Saltwater Fishing

Alaska is perhaps most famous for the pristine waters off its western coast, where the calmer waters of the Inside Passage give way to the beautiful Pacific Ocean. It’s a playground for some of the most incredible wildlife in the world, with everything from humpback whales and orca to sea lions and seals.

These species come to the waters off the Alaskan coast in the summer months because there is also an abundance of fish that also come to these waters between May and September. The annual salmon runs of multiple species occur in staggered fashion throughout the summer, starting with:

  • King (Chinook) salmon – May
  • Keta (dog) salmon – early June
  • Pink (humpback) salmon – late June
  • Coho (silver) salmon – August

Each salmon run lasts between two and three months, during which time you can find millions of them in the ocean as they make their way back to their natal (birth) stream to reproduce before they die.

However, it’s also important to note that salmon are an anadromous fish, which means they can survive in both fresh water and salt water. So if you’re hoping to catch some salmon, both ocean fishing and stream fishing will yield these abundant fish.

Other fish you can expect to find in the ocean off the coast of Alaska all summer include:

  • Rockfish
  • Ling cod
  • Pacific cod
  • Halibut

What You Need for Saltwater Fishing in Alaska’s Inside Passage

To have a fun and successful fishing trip out on the ocean, you first need a high-quality fishing boat that can handle the (sometimes unpredictable) weather and water. You also need fishing poles and tackle gear that is suited for catching some potentially very large fish. King salmon, for example, can reach up to 50 pounds or more when they are full grown.

Finally you will need an experienced guide who can help you find where the fish are biting. Even though there are millions of fish out there, just randomly choosing a spot out on the ocean won't guarantee a good catch. An experienced guide can help you find the right spot.

Freshwater Fishing

Fishing in the lakes and streams is another adventure that you might want to experience when you get to Alaska. It can feel like stepping back in time to when the world was a little less inhabited and the resources a little more pristine. The crisp air and beautiful mountain peaks are an ideal backdrop to cast your rod into one of the pristine bodies of water to see what’s biting.

In the southeast panhandle region (near the Inside Passage) you will find an abundance of salmon, brook trout, cutthroat trout, arctic grayling salmon, and steelhead. Some of these fish – like multiple species of salmon – are anadromous and will be in both the rivers and ocean. Others are only found in the freshwater rivers, streams, and tributaries that wind their way through the wilderness.

What You Need for Freshwater Fishing in Alaska

To have a successful freshwater fishing trip in the Alaskan wild you will need a few things:

  • An experienced guide who can help you find the right fishing spots without running into some undesirable visits, like the millions of black and brown bears that come to feed on salmon in the summer.
  • The right fishing gear, including rods, tackle, and bait. You can bring your own, but depending on how you plan to get to Alaska that could be hard to do, especially on an airplane with luggage limits.

No Wrong Answer

The really good news when it comes to the question of whether you are going to fish in saltwater or fresh water is that Alaska is a great place to do it. In both cases you’re probably better off going with a guided excursion than trying to go it alone. These excursions provide all the gear you need, and someone to help you find the best places to fish.

An even better option is to do both while you are in Alaska. At Pybus Point Lodge all of your fishing is included in the price. We have the latest fishing gear, quality boats, and kayaks and skiffs (to fish in the bay). We also have guides who will help you find the right spot and keep you safe in the process.

Finally, we’re here to help you get all the necessary permits to be able to legally fish in the state. Neglecting these little details could lead to fines and other inconveniences if you don’t have the right pass from ADF&G.

As an added bonus, anything you catch we can clean and vacuum seal so you can take it home. We’ll freeze and pack up to 50 pounds of fish that fit within checked-baggage guidelines to travel home with you.

So what are you waiting for? Book your all-inclusive Alaska trip to Pybus Point Lodge today to experience freshwater and saltwater fishing in some of the most beautiful and remote parts of the world.

Alaska Packing List PDF


Download, share, or print out our PDF Packaging list to make sure you bring all the gear you need for your Alaska vacation!


Chartered Floatplane Service

Pybus Point Lodge is located on an extremely remote island far away from the distractions of the city. This makes for incredible sightseeing, fishing, and an all around great opportunity to connect with friends, family, and m

Wide Selection of Fish Species

Alaska is one of the top dream destinations for anglers around the world, and it’s no surprise why! Our waters are home to a wide variety of fish species that are good to eat and a blast to catch.




Discover why people like you can’t stop talking about Pybus Point Lodge. More than 30 years ago, the lodge opened as a simple fishing camp, drawing a devoted following in spite of basic accommodations. With new owners and experienced captains and crew, our corner of Alaska has become an unbeatable fishing and eco-tourism resort.

Andrea Tate

Incredible Experience!

Pybus Point Lodge has some of the most stunning scenery I’ve ever seen. I mean absolutely breathtaking! In addition to the amazing fishing, I hiked to a beautiful secluded lake, soaked in some hot pots, saw several waterfalls, went whale watching, saw bears and all kinds of wildlife and marine life. As a photographer, photographing a wedding under a waterfall will remain a highlight of my life.

Shirley Johnson

Pybus Point Lodge - WOW!

We had the best time! This was our first visit to Pybus, but it definitely will not be our last. The stunning scenery, amazing fishing experience, and the joy of meeting new friends – all outstanding! We did not want to leave!!! If you are thinking about this trip – don’t think any more, just book it. You will not regret it!!!

Sharon Hedding

Trip of a Lifetime!

We had such an amazing time the staff was so wonderful and the lodge was fantastic! capt Joe was so helpful and always doing what ever he could do to make each day special. a special thank you to both Scott and Jody for taking the time to make us feel like family. can't wait to go back next year

Jason Nielsen

Wonderful and Magical Place

We had an amazing business retreat to Pybus Point Lodge.  Everything was top notch... the fishing, the staff, the boat captains, the food, the accommodations, and especially the scenery. I really liked that Pybus took care of everything from start to finish. Chef John is an amazing cook. We had delicious hot meals the entire trip.  The cabins were amazing and very comfortable.  The fishing was awesome and that’s coming from a guy that doesn’t fish that much.

Brandon Foote

We brought home 100lbs of fish!

My wife and I spent a week at Pybus Point this Summer. We had a beautiful, private room overlooking the bay and our own new, ensuite, private bathroom. What an amazing place for couples to get away together. We set our own breakfast time, met our boat captain after, fished the day along, and returned to clean up and enjoy a nice dinner at the restaurant. Next time Alaska is on the trip list, Sherrie and I will go together, and it will be to Pybus Point!

Kent Danjanovich

Fun in Alaska

This was my first trip to Pybus Point. I stayed in one of their new cabins. The accommodations were incredible, the view onto the bay in the mornings was stunning. I loved the staff and the food was really very good. All of this and they have new boats to take you out onto fairly calm waters to fish. The fishing guides were great. Overall a great experience. Definitely going back.


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